49ers

49ers sign veteran lineman Wesley Johnson to one-year contract

wesleyap.jpg
AP

49ers sign veteran lineman Wesley Johnson to one-year contract

The 49ers on Tuesday added to their veteran depth on the offensive line with the signing of center Wesley Johnson to a one-year contract.  The 49ers waived tight end Marcus Lucas to make room for Johnson on the 90-man roster.

The 49ers need addtional depth at center for the offseason after Weston Richburg underwent surgery after the season on his left knee and quadriceps. The 49ers hope Richburg will be available for the start of training camp in late-July.

Johnson, 28, played 10 games for the Miami Dolphins last season. In 2017, he started 15 games for the New York Jets. He has appeared in 51 games in his six-year career with 24 starts. Johnson (6-foot-55, 309 pounds) was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round (173rd overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Vanderbilt.

He has appeared in NFL games with the Steelers (2014), Jets (2014-17) and Miami Dolphins (2018). Lucas joined the 49ers' practice squad last December and did not appear in any games.

49ers UDFAs Salvon Ahmed, JaMycal Hasty making most of odd offseason

49ers UDFAs Salvon Ahmed, JaMycal Hasty making most of odd offseason

Salvon Ahmed and JaMycal Hasty were always going to face an uphill battle to make the 49ers' roster, but the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made the hill a little steeper.

Under normal circumstances, the 49ers' undrafted free agents would have a chance to make a good first impression on the field at rookie minicamp. That's how Matt Breida won his roster spot in 2017. But instead, Hasty and Ahmed spend four hours on Zoom meetings with their position group and coaches, trying to learn everything about the 49ers' offense. The first two hours are spent with the entire group, while the final two hours are just Ahmed, Hasty and undrafted fullback Josh Hokit with assistant coach Bobby Turner.

While it's been unusual, the rookies think it's been a productive start to their NFL careers.

“You don’t have to worry about practices, you don’t have to worry about anything but that one, four-hour window to meet,” Hasty told The Athletic's Matt Barrows. “So there are a lot of things you can cover. There’s a ton of information to learn and pick up on. I mean, the rookies help each other out, the vets bring us along. It’s been a great experience, man.”

The 49ers have built a strong culture and that plays a big role in helping new blood catch up to the rest of the group.

“I think it’s showing what it’d be like even if we were there,” Ahmed told The Athletic. “And I think the culture is strong enough to show through our Zoom meetings. I think how we’re acting now is definitely how everyone would act if we were at the facility.”

The 49ers are likely to carry five running backs in total between the active roster and practice squad. Pencil in Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman for two of those spots. Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson, Ahmed and Hasty will have to battle for the final three spots, with McKinnon and Wilson likely having a leg up.

The final roster spot likely will come down to a position battle between Ahmed and Hasty.

Ahmed, 5-foot-11, 197-pounds, never became the game-breaking back he was projected to be when he committed to Washington out of high school. He has quick feet and can be explosive, but he needs to work on his vision and decisiveness to stick in the NFL.

As for Hasty, the Baylor product was misused during his time in Waco, Texas. He's an elite athlete who profiles as a third-down back who can uncover out of the backfield and make plays in the passing game. He's a tough, hard-nosed back who has the explosiveness to fit well in the 49ers' zone-rushing scheme. He's an electric, change-of-pace back who has the potential to morph into a dynamic weapon for coach Kyle Shanahan.

[RELATED: Nine 49ers facing make-or-break season in 2020]

The 49ers might be able to hold a full-squad minicamp in June if Governor Gavin Newsom allows it. That will be the first time Ahmed and Hasty will take the field as 49ers. They must make the most of every opportunity in order to make the roster.

They've already been doing that in the Zoom classroom. The field world comes next.

NFL Network's Adam Rank goes all-in on 49ers after bad 2019 prediction

NFL Network's Adam Rank goes all-in on 49ers after bad 2019 prediction

Not many would have expected the success the 49ers gave us last season. Well, at least one guy in particular.

NFL Network analyst Adam Rank might be the main person to eat his words following his prediction of the team going 3-13. But he's redeemed himself. 

The Super Bowl LIV runners-up obviously were more successful than that going 13-3, however. He heard it all from 49ers fans, even admitting he was an idiot for saying such a thing

Rank wrote on NFL.com that not only are the 49ers becoming one of the league’s “model organizations,” but walking away from Miami didn’t mean they were out of the fight -- not even a little bit.

The 2020 season will bring back tight end George Kittle who looks to be the highest-paid at the position in NFL history, a Super Bowl appearance as a starter by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa looks to have another successful season and we get to see the freakishly athletic ability of rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

That’s just what’s happening on the field.

Rank praised the front office possessing general manager John Lynch on part of that success as well. 

Rank knows that any team could face a post-championship hangover that not even the strongest of Gatorade could cure. Their expectations are high, but this team is the real deal -- and naturally, they’ll have a target on their backs. But Rank’s done doubting, but said he understands if people don’t believe him.

[RELATED: Richard Sherman wants 49ers detractors to keep doubting them]

“I know me praising the 49ers will make the fans uneasy,” Rank told NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday. “Like whenever Ric Flair would cozy up to Sting. And as much as you'd like me to discredit them again, we don't have to resort to such tricks because this is a very good team. Though I don't blame you if you don't trust me.”

He said it, he’s a believer. Now, let’s give the guy a break.